Western Jurisdiction Leaders Respond to 'This Moment in the Life of Our Church'

March 18, 2019

The leadership team of the Western Jurisdiction, meeting last week in Portland, Oregon, unanimously adopted a statement to "reaffirm our commitment to a radically hospitable church in two converging ways":

  • As United Methodists, we must resist injustice and insist that the Church repent of the exclusionary principles of the Traditional Plan.
  • Grounded in our Wesleyan heritage, we will foster a new movement to gather the energy of inclusive United Methodists throughout our global connection.
The statement was in part a response to inquiries from United Methodists from across the connection, asking how they might find both a symbolic and a literal home in the West.

In a preface, the leadership team wrote, "we sought to identify strategic priorities—emerging responses to this moment in the life of the Church. As work continues on these priorities, we trust those efforts will provide us the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances, while holding fast to our shared vision."

The jurisdiction's mission cabinet, composed of the bishops, directors of connectional ministries, and leadership team chairperson, received and "wholeheartedly" embraced the statement, "recognizing in it the shared values of the West, and the longing for the home God calls us to share with all."

"Many persons across the theological spectrum are feeling the deep pain of our beloved United Methodist Church," the mission cabinet's own statement reads. "We have found much encouragement and hope in the actions and statements of like-minded United Methodists around the world including progressives, moderates, and conservatives alike, who no longer recognize the church they have long called home."

Making a commitment to provide "safe harbor" to clergy who face the threat of complaints and/or the loss of credentials because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or "ministry with and for our LGBTQIA+ siblings," as well as to "support those clergy who, after prayerful discernment, choose to conduct same-gender marriages and those congregations who choose to host same-gender weddings," the mission cabinet also affirms, "there may come a time when opposing sides determine in the Spirit of Christ, that they cannot remain together. God may call us, in God’s own time, to create a new form of Methodism for the 21st Century and beyond."

"This is a God-inspired kairos moment," it states.

Read the March 14th, 2019 statements by the Western Jurisdiction leadership team and mission cabinet.

Read story by Greg Nelson, "WJ continues being ‘A home for all’ following GC2019."

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